Reinventing the Indo-Pacific | The Economist
A new super-region is taking shape—mainly to counter Chinese aggression
Until a few years ago, the term “Indo-Pacific” was hardly uttered in international affairs. Now many countries have adopted so-called Indo-Pacific strategies, including America, Australia, Britain, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines and even Mongolia. South Korea joined the pack in December. The main Asian holdout is China, which scorns the phrase. That is key to understanding what the Indo-Pacific is all about.
Outside geopolitics, the term, implying a conjoined perspective on the Indian Ocean and the even vaster Pacific, is not new. Its first recorded use was by a British colonial lawyer and ethnographer in the mid-19th century. Patterns of human trade and exchange had already spanned the two oceans for millennia, with Islam spreading eastward from the Middle East and Hinduism and Buddhism fanning outwards from India. In more recent decades scientists have grasped how the circulation and biogeography of the two oceans are closely connected. The great story of Asia can be usefully framed by the two-ocean notion of an Indo-Pacific.
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